And the addictions! (How the internet helps with house-hunting.) (orignially written in April)
‘Mummy; when we’ve found our new house, what are you going to do for a job?’
I spend so long at the computer looking at estate agents’ websites, my daughter actually thought I’d made a career of it.
I don’t have a clue how people managed to relocate in the days way back when we didn’t have the internet. Websites like Upmystreet.com have been my bible over the last few months (maybe years?) of house-hunting. Ofsted’s website, county and district council websites, leisure centre websites and google maps have all been regularly clicked on from my bookmarks, and Rightmove.co.uk has received more of my time than is probably healthy for me.
In fact, now I come to think of it, perhaps I was something of a Rightmove addict. Every single day, straight after dropping the kids at school, I would leap gleefully into my computer chair and without even looking at the screen I knew the movements of the mouse and when to click in order to bring up the list of houses within the ten mile radius of our preferred area; how many bedrooms we needed and to only only show properties added in the last twenty-four hours.
Whenever we actually went to visit this ten mile radius, I would know off by heart everything about every house we passed with a For Sale sign outside, whether it was suitable for us or not. You see, in the same way that an addict may get bored with their drug of choice and start to look elsewhere for that extra high; I would get bored of looking for a house with our number of bedrooms; in our price bracket; within our ten miles. House-hunting is incredibly frustrating when everything you need from a house is rare within your budget. There were many times when there would be simply nothing right for us. The third bedroom would be the size of a cupboard; the garden would be the size of a stamp; there’d be no off-road parking and yellow lines outside etc etc. So my online search for a house became dangerous – especially on Mondays when I would leap into my chair to find the only new property was a one bed ‘surf pod’ a mile away from a surfing beach and might be finished some time next year. (BTW, if you’ve seen these online; go and visit first. I’m referring to the ones at Watergate Bay – imagine walking that distance up that hill in a wet wetsuit carrying a heavy board? I don’t think so!) Well that wasn’t good enough. That wouldn’t supply me with my house-fix for the day. I’d find myself changing the search criteria to ‘Any time’, and going up and extra £50,000, just to see what else was out there. You never know, they may take an offer. I would try and justify my actions. With delight I would gaze at page after page of beautiful perfect houses. I’d copy and paste their links into messenger and send them to my husband who was trying to work. He’d reply with ‘Lovely, but have you seen the price?’
I’d reply with ‘Yes, but have you seen the size of the garden?’
‘Yes, but have you seen the size of the price?’
‘Yes, but there’s roses in the picture, so it’s been on the market for a while – they may take a deal.’
‘By that much?’
‘They do on Location Location Location.’
‘By that much??
I’d argue my point, but I knew it could never happen. After an hour or so indulging living in that perfect house, my high would fade and I’d be left with the come-down. Time for another fix; I’ll expand the area we’re looking in. Yes I know there’d be crap schools; 1 hour drive to the shops etc. But look at the size of the garden!